Dreaming Tetris

September 12, 2013

Fascinating. Dr. Robert Stickgold found that amnesiacs will dream about Tetris (aka The Tetris Effect) even though they do not remember playing the game.

Action Videogames Train Your Brain For Decision-Making

September 21, 2010

Researcher Daphne Bavelier is back with more videogame research. Once again, the study used The Sims 2, Call Of Duty 2, and Unreal Tournament.

The results of this study showed that those who played the action games made quicker decisions:

“In the problem-solving exercise, the action-game players made decisions 25 percent faster than the strategy group, while answering the same number of questions correctly.”

The Gaming Brain

January 31, 2010

Scientific American’s online edition has an article touching on the study I previously blogged in which videogames were observed to improve vision. The article is a nice contrast to much of the game journalism coverage of the research, and gives me an opportunity to briefly revisit this topic.

Obviously, we know that games can teach information or hone motor skills – but there isn’t a lot of research around games and brain plasticity.

This article has a nice point calling out the lack of good research in this area (I’m looking at you, Brain Age.):

To date, much of the claims around this rapidly growing area of technology-supported medical interventions are insufficiently supported by scientific data.

(I have since found a study examining the effect of videogames upon memory and thinking skills in the elderly – using Boom Blox.)

Out of a number of online mentions of this research that I have seen, this article comes closest to referencing Steven Johnson‘s book “Everything Bad Is Good For You”. Perhaps I have just missed the articles that make the logical connection.

It also amuses me to see a study showing that playing Call Of Duty 2 or Unreal Tournament 2004 is in any measurable sense “better” than playing The Sims 2.

In other news, it seems that Dr. Richard Haier is still researching with Tetris. Dr. Haier did some of the original brain research with Tetris back in 1992 (two publications: one in Intelligence, another in Brain Research). In 2009, Dr. Haier did some new research involving Tetris while acting as a consultant to Blue Planet Software. MSNBC has a brief interview with Dr. Haier. Wired has another writeup on the research. (I would be remiss if I didn’t include a link to a certain someone declaring themselves as a Gameboy Tetris purist: “Tetris on the Gameboy…only.”)

I’ll close with another link I had lying around: scientists studying mice brains by using Quake 2.

Update, March 2010: Another bit of research on Tetris and PTSD.

Game Changers

January 30, 2010

The latest Wired has an interesting article Game Changers: How Videogames Trained a Generation of Athletes. It is a summary of the rise of sports videogames and how the Madden franchise in particular is now having an effective on the actual sport. It appears at this point that most new players entering the NFL have grown up playing the videogame and are bringing certain habits and play styles with them. The article briefly touches on the brain science aspects of videogames by touching on the FPS study that I have mentioned before. The article also does point out that we are not likely see trends such as this except in a few areas such as football and poker.

Knowledge Transfer Through Video Games

October 12, 2009

Certainly, if you’ve been around the rule space long enough, you will be familiar with such terms as “knowledge engineering” and “knowledge capture”.

Robert X. Cringely’s latest column is (somewhat) about a knowledge capture platform. Nestled in among the usual rant about IBM and outsourcing (and I say that as a fan), is a link to an IBM patent for a “Platform for Capturing Knowledge”.

I haven’t read the patent myself, only Cringely’s commentary. But it seems the end result is not an expert system, but a video game for training experts. That’s an interesting aspect, although I’m not sure what the patent has that is unique. I seem to recall seeing plenty of prior art in this area years ago, especially in terms of expert systems for training medical personnel.

I don’t have time to spend digging up prior art right now, but I bet a number of readers have seen some as well.

This Is Your Brain On Tetris

April 25, 2009

We’ve all seen the findings showing that Tetris has effects upon cerebral glucose metabolic rates (GMRs). Well, the game is back in the news with more brain research…

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